Uber Paid Man to Keep Breach Secret


A Reuters report citing sources familiar with the matter claims that a 20 year-old from Florida was responsible for Uber's 2016 data breach.

Even if a company manages to contain and handle a data breach, it has a duty to report it to regulators, which Uber appears to have failed to do, aiming for a cover-up rather than mea culpa. A new report from Reuters says that a Florida man, 20, was behind the massive hack.

Reuters' sources said that ex-CEO Travis Kalanick was aware of both the breach and payment when he led the company. He stepped down as Uber CEO in June and has taken a vow of silence too.

The ride-hailing app paid the man, whose identity is still unknown, and an anonymous accomplice to delete the data through a "bug bounty" programme, according to Reuters.

This is a bit unusual, as such bug bounty schemes are used to reward white hat hackers for discovering software vulnerabilities, and often the companies hosting them will trumpet the success and number of payouts they've made as an example of how strong and stable their code has become.

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Uber also then conducted a forensic analysis of the hacker's machine to make sure the data had been purged, the sources reportedly said. The hacker further paid a second person who offered his services in accessing GitHub to obtain credentials for accessing Uber's data.

Uber received an email previous year from an anonymous person demanding money in exchange for user data, and the message was forwarded to the company's bug bounty team in what was described as Uber's routine practice for such solicitations, according to three sources familiar with the matter. Hackers and security researchers are typically paid thousands of dollars for bugs they find, depending on their severity.

Uber had not responded to Silicon UK at the time of writing.

Mr. Khosrowshahi learned of the incident after becoming Uber's chief executive in August, and he's since terminated two employees implicated in its response, Joe Sullivan, Uber's former head of security, and a deputy, attorney Craig Clark.

Last week, three more top managers in Uber's security unit resigned.